Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: Twilight Princess Volume 1


MANGAKA: Akira Himekawa
LETTERS: Evan Waldinger
ISBN: 978-1-4215-9347-0; paperback (March 2017); Rated “T” for “Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

The Legend of Zelda is a high-fantasy themed action-adventure video game series that debuted in 1986 and is published by Nintendo.  Nintendo has also officially endorsed and commissioned manga adaptations of The Legend of Zelda for over two decades.  The Legend of Zelda revolves around Link, a brave knight/warrior, and Princess Zelda of Hyrule, who guides, encourages, instructs, and summons Link to battle evil.

VIZ Media has been publishing manga based on The Legend of Zelda in America.  The latest is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which is based on the 13th video game title in the franchise.  The Twilight Princess manga is written and drawn by mangaka Akira Himekawa.  VIZ collected Himekawa's other Zelda manga in the recent mini-omnibus, The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition – Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 8) opens with a brief retelling of the story of upstart wizards whose rebellion in the country of Hyrule got them exiled from the World of Light and into the Twilight Realm.  The darkness, however, has reawakened and stirs in the Twilight Realm with its eyes on regaining power.

The story moves to Ordon, a small and prosperous agricultural village on the edge of Hyrule.  Here, the mysterious ranch hand, Link, found a home two years ago.  The people of Ordon love him, especially the children, but Link struggles with his tragic past, which might be returning in the form of the troubling dreams he has.  Link does not realize that he will soon have to face the darkness which once destroyed everything he knew.

In the last two years, VIZ Media has sent me two graphic novels from The Legend of Zelda as copies-for-review.  I have enjoyed them, but I am surprised by The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess manga.  It is not as playful as the two earlier titles I read.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Volume 1 introduces a Hyrule steeped in a foreboding atmosphere.  Even when the sun is out and the farmers are happily bringing in their crops, there is something ominous on the edges.  The tone of the narrative is darker and maybe even a little more mature than the stories in The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition – Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages.

In Twilight Princess, Akira Himekawa makes the idea of people being transformed seem more like an act of destruction and also an act of penetrative violence.  In fact, in this story, violation seems more fearful than death.  I think this series is going to be a good read, and manga readers who normally avoid The Legend of Zelda comics may want to give it try.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.


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